Minsheng Community Urban Garden 慈恩眷村的社區園圃

Location-tagged as “最美麗的社區…”, meaning “the most beautiful neighborhood”. Local residents are undoubtedly proud of their community. (source: @dearclarissa)

Community urban gardens have become quite the craze in the “Western World”, so much that many cities even have waiting-lists to get a plot! For some reasons, I was under the impression that the Minsheng urban garden was a long-time fixture of the neighborhood, but looking back at the picture above, dating from the beginning of 2015, it actually appears to be a recent project.

If you have a green hand or are interested in “creative” urban spaces, then the Minsheng Community Urban Garden should make for an interesting visit. Its Chinese name is 慈恩眷村的社區園圃, literally meaning “Kind Grace Military Village Community Garden”, which eludes to the existence of a KMT military housing in a previous era, although I didn’t notice any remnants of it. The garden is now mostly surrounded by residential buildings.

When I arrived, I had the unexpected surprise of recognizing two familiar silhouettes, the Giant Panda and the Formosan Black Bear from the Panda World Tour! No one was around on this overcast afternoon, which was just perfect to leisurely strike a few poses with each of those guys. Hopefully, they’re there to stay.

Nature is re-injecting some life into the bare land – especially between the plots – that this area used to be.
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Which other urban garden gets bragging rights for hosting a cute Giant Panda?!
The lesser known but not any less adorable mascot of Taiwan: the Formosan Black Bear 台灣黑熊! 😻
I now have proof that Monsanto has been conducting some open-field experiments in Taiwan. Pictured here is a seedless family-size variety of apple, soon available at Costco. Due to weight issues, it’s also been engineered to grow out of the soil instead of on a tree. (Just kidding! Please don’t go sabotage this cute garden plot.)
Edible leafy greens, can you recognize which is what?
Kolhrabi, a vegetable I ate for the first time, here in Taiwan!
Kolhrabi, a vegetable I ate for the first time, here in Taiwan! Great for salads!
I am a key ingredient in Moroccan tea, what am I?
I am a key ingredient in Moroccan tea, what am I?
Someone's corn? o_O
Someone is growing corn? o_O

There’s definitely got to be a story about how this garden came to be, and how those two bears even landed there, but I’m running out of blogging bandwidth, so this modest photowalk will do for now. 🙂

In the meantime, for more information about urban community garden, feel free to rummage through those websites:

(This upcoming June 13th, the 都市農耕網 fb group is organizing a small field trip to visit six urban community farms, in Taipei. For more information and sign-ups (in Chinese), check here.)

And to visit more urban or roof-top garden in Taipei, check out this – most likely non-comprehensive – map:

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